It has been a surpassing strange year. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times doesn’t begin to cover it. As happens in every 365 day cycle anything and everything happens. Moments both profound and mundane. The players change and sometimes the results are the same. Not unusually, my hometown of Chicago has been prominent in the national ( and global) conversation. The City that Works (as Dick Daley, who practically owned the town for the better part of three decades used to call it), in many ways has been a showcase for the craziness that has been 2015. Brutal police shootings along with what can be most charitably referred to as an inadequate response from the mayor’s office have overshadowed the positive vibes that the Black Hawks brought to town in the spring. Which almost miraculously was practically forgotten thanks to the incredible run of Joe Maddon and the youngsters of Wrigley. The timing couldn’t have been better between the Back to the Future II connection and what would happen as the year progressed.
Much of what went on was painful to witness: multiple shootings seemingly Every weekend. The aforementioned highly questionable and controversial police involvement. A mayoral election that could probably use a “do over” what with subsequent revelations. Spike Lee bringing his 40 Acres and a Mule road show to town. The initial reaction was hardly a surprise, even before the movie came out. Arguably Spike, who is certainly no bodies fool, expected this.
The fact is that the big events get the press. In this era of sound bites and no time taken for in depth (or in most cases any) analysis it seems the loudest voice is the one that gets heard. Fact checking may be a growth industry but in the end it still depends on who you are rooting, excuse me, voting for. Unfortunately, at least in my opinion, the loudest voice also appears to be the angriest. Forty years ago Paddy Chayefsky wrote the brilliant Network. The character of Howard Beale became a cultural icon. Most movie goers thought it was a wonderful satire. Paddy knew better, even at the time. He stated once on the subject: “…I still write realistic stuff, it’s the world that has turned into a satire.” As we stare across midnight at 2016 and, among other things another bit of sound and fury otherwise known as the U.S. Presidential election keep Paddy’s words in mind.
What kind of a year was it? A year like all years, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times. And heaven help us all, we were there. Happy New Year.